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Now For The Good News ………………..


Now For The Good News ………………………

Well perhaps the biggest story of the weekend had to be that the death of Osama Bin Laden had finally bitten the dust after a covert operation by the US military that took out the terrorist who was being harbored in Pakistan just outside the nation’s capital of Islamabad . What I find somewhat ironic is the mere fact that the attack took place so close to a military academy where many of Pakistan’s top military officers are trained in amongst other things military strategy and the use of intelligentsia in warfare . So much for that nation being a willing ally on the war on terror , the government of Pakistan and its military have been complicit and suborned Bin Laden’s safe refuge but in reality Barack Obama and his predecessor George W Bush were too damn afraid of saying …….. what in reality anyone who had one iota of common sense had known all along as ….. they simply didn’t want to alienate the Arab world in particular those countries who they state were their allies on the war on terror. Well now that the head of the snake has been chopped off the question remains where do we go from hear ? There there are likely to be retributory acts of violence in retaliation for Bin Laden’s death and you can be sure that any one of a number of organizations that were aligned with Al Qaeda will want to assume the mantra and doctrine of the terrorist group. And what does this now for Bin Laden’s most trusted follower Ayman Al-Zawahiri who is now likely to assume control of the terrorist group. Will he also be pursued hopefully with as much tenacity as Bin Laden was ?

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Having had several friends (with the US military) serving in both Afghanistan and Iraq as well as a younger sibling serving in Kabul with the British military I’ve got to say that this news was most welcomed. And having served myself on active duty as a member of the Royal Marines I have to say that warfare is nothing to shy away from even when you’re thrust into the midst of it at a young age. For those who are still serving and those about to serve the country in whatever undertaking being thrust upon them I’d just like to say thanks and remain safe !

Well on to things just as heart warming I hope , and that’s the sporting landscape as it now appears to be. After three utterly monotonous and boring days thankfully the NFL Draft is finally over ! Seven rounds and some 250 plus picks by the NFL’s teams and already questions are being raised as to who the winners and losers are ? Hell who the fuck knows who will be ultimately a winner and who’ll be a loser ? Until these players actually hit a field , play a first down in the NFL regular season it’s mere speculation and conjecture . Good , and although I watched none of the draft coverage by ESPN I can only surmise that the analysts and hosts on hand had a great deal to talk about . This much I do know there’s only so much one can take of Chris Berman , Mel Kiper and Todd McShay without wanting to blow a damn gasket !

It goes without saying that while everyone is said to be feeling all warm and fuzzy with the Draft , consider the stupidity of the situation of the NFL at present ? The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Judge Susan Nelson’s original verdict in favor of the players and in effect the NFL lockout remains in place . Judge Kermit Bye’s decision which has literally thrown a cog in the works and as of now although this apparently looked upon as a major problem . Anything that in essence prolongs this stoppage makes the whole issue of the 2011 season starting on time now seems even more remote. The NFL team owners for one thing are said to be happy that Judge Bye’s decision went in their favor as it now gives them the upper hand they will in this ongoing effort. If anything as this all plays itself out the fans are becoming even more disgruntled with the present situation as they’re being alienated by the stupidity that’s now being shown by both parties . The NFLPA through their own spokesman have stated that the decision was merely a partial victory for the league and they’ve vowed to fight on during in this ongoing episode. Any bets that there will actually be football by the opening week of September 3rd the opening weekend of the NFL season ? I wonder what odds are now being laid in Vegas at present ?

The NBA postseason continues with its usual bluster and the Miami Heat seem to be intent on making quick work of the Boston Celtics with Dwyane Wade showing why it is that the regular season 3-1 series loss and meetings between the two teams meant absolutely nothing. In game one of the Eastern Conference Semi Finals Wade and his team literally took the Celtics to task on their home court at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida , comfortably winning the game 99-90 . Dwyane Wade led all scorers with 38 points and who was also ably assisted with 25 points from teammate James Jones . And though it’s early days yet , expect this series to be a highly competitive and physical one . Would you expect it to be anything else ?

Ah, how the rich tend to look for sympathy when their plight can’t be seen in a happier light . Over the weekend Frank McCourt gave an interview as to his impending plight now that the league hierarchy has essentially taken away the reins from him as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner. Now as good as the team has been playing of late with both Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp at present having All Star caliber seasons. I can’t help but wonder what might happen should the team going into something of tailspin and start to lose consecutive games or for that matter series !

McCourt for his part when pressed by the journalist as whether or not he had in fact had contravened any league rules in the conduct of the Dodgers’ day to day business dealings was adamant he and no other executive had done anything that has contravened any league mandated rules . In the eyes of Frank McCourt it appears it is a matter of perception as to what those rules might be and whether or not any were actually broken. The Dodgers’ owner stated that Bud Selig’s appointed intermediary former US ambassador to Japan J Thomas Schieffer and he had a very cordial meeting and that Schieffer stated that it would not be his intention of interrupting the working environment of the ball club . Can’t say that if I were in Schieffer’s place I’d have said anything to the contrary , given the fact that the Dodgers are in a financial mess and anything coming from out of the beleaguered owner can’t be viewed as having a bearing on the truth as we know it to be at present. This episode appears to be heading for what one might view as a contentious situation as McCourt has vowed to fight any intention of the league hierarchy to force him to relinquish the reins in owning the team. Personally, from a fan’s standpoint whether or not Frank McCourt retains control of this team I couldn’t at all care , because I’ve always been of the opinion that MLB baseball and the team owners are a clueless bunch of individuals ! . Were they passengers on the Titanic I believe that they’d have been making comments on how wonderful the iceberg that they were about to hit is , rather than realizing the impending disaster that is within their midst . I’ve had one patron of my site state that baseball is lucky that it doesn’t have a labor issue to resolve but here’s the caveat to his thought. It is indeed true that the MLB doesn’t have a labor issue to deal with but what it does have is a financial quagmire that’s about engulf it like quicksand has ben known to entrap an animal and stifle it of its very life blood . At present the owners and league hierarchy are too dumb to admit that fact until they’re actually up to their necks in quicksand . And when that happens we could very well see them looking them looking for a life jacket with none to be found.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment and thanks as always for the continued support !

Alan aka tophatal ………………………….

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details .

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(1) Ayman Al-Zawahiri (left) and Osama Bin Laden (center) are seen here delivering one of those rather radical Islamic fervent anti West statements . Bin Laden’s death now leaves something of a vacuum within Al Qaeda but it appears Al-Zawhiri will assume the role as the organization’s leader . Now word as of yet officially as whether or not the US government will go after Al-Zawahiri with the same fervor . BBC.co.uk …….

(2) At least they had something that they had to agree on and that the death of Bin Laden was a necessity . President Barack Obama and his predecessor President George W Bush are seen at the White House on the day Obama succeeded Bush at President . AFP/Reuters/ Gil Hughes ……

(3) Denver Broncos vice president John Elway, center, talks about this year’s NFL Draft after it concluded his is flanked by head coach John Fox, right, and general manager Brian Xanders during a news conference at the football team’s headquarters in Englewood, Colo., on Saturday, April 30, 2011. AP Photo/Ed Andrieski ……

(4) James Hill standing with Kermit Bye (left), judge of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals and North Dakota Chief Justice Gerald W. Vande Walle at the ABA 2010 Midyear Meeting in Orlando, Fla. West Law Publishing .

(5) MIAMI, FL – MAY 1: Dwyane Wade (3) of the Miami Heat shoots against Ray Allen (20) and Glen Davis (11) of the Boston Celtics in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 1, 2011 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Victor Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(6) Mario Chalmers (15) of the Miami Heat hshoots over Kevin Garnett (5) of the Boston Celtics during Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 1, 2011 in Miami, Florida
Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images ……..

(7) Paul Pierce (34) , Jermaine O’neal (7) , Ray Allen (20) , and Kevin Garnett (5) of the Boston Celtics talk during game one of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on May 1, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images ………….

(8) Los Angeles Dodgers’ Andre Ethier heads toward first after hitting a single during the seventh inning of their Major League Baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Sunday, May 1, 2011, at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, California . With that single, Ethier completed a 27-game hitting streak. The Dodgers would go on to lose to the Padres 7-0 . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill …………

(9) Chad Qualls (50) of the San Diego Padres and catcher Nick Hundley celebrate a 7-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 1, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …….

(10) Will Venable (25) of the San Diego Padres skips away from the tag of Dioner Navarro (30) of the Los Angeles Dodgers to score a run for a 6-0 lead during the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium on May 1, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images ……..

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Basketball, Bill Russell, Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Los Angeles Lakers, Nate Robinson, NBA, NBA Playoffs 2010, Red Auberbach, Shaquille O'Neal, Sports, Wyc Grousbeck

Chances Are It Won’t Work Out …………… But Then Again Who Knows ?


Chances Are It Won’t Work Out …………… But Then Again Who Knows ?

The one thing that has perplexed me since the trade deadline has been the play of the Boston Celtics and the decision made by the Boston Celtics’ GM Danny Ainge in the trading of Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson . Now inasmuch as we’re told that this was done to benefit the overall strength of the Celtics’ roster I think in large part that the trade has been to the detriment of the Celtics that has provided a slump in their fortunes where they’re now the third ranked team within the Eastern Conference sitting behind the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat .

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Though the Boston Celtics’ coach Doc Rivers has stated that this trade was a necessity to give the team depth in strength I do believe that the decision wasn’t a prudent one and it has if anything made the team all the more vulnerable and susceptible in their chances of making it deep into the playoffs much less winning the conference finals or the NBA title itself. The Celitics’ Big Three of Ray Allen , Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in addition to point guard Rajon Rondo have been playing at a level not identifiable with a team that many thought if anything would be viewed as a serious contender for the conference championship as well as the NBA championship. Instead this team has struggled and the fact that Troy Murphy an addition to the Celtics’ roster was seen as an upgrade has me wondering what it is that Ainge was trying to do ! If anything the general manager of this storied franchise must feel that the front office and the ownership of Wyc Grousbeck and his partners who can’t be entirely happy with the current situation but as long as there’s a chance that the team can be thought of as a contender then they may well be satisfied with their predicament.

In the offseason after the playoffs has reached its culmination I do believe that several decisions will have to be made as to the personnel of this team in light of the age of the team’s “Big Three” of Allen , Garnett and Pierce , never mind the roaming mercenary on the team Shaquille O’Neal whose career of late has been one where he’s merely moved for the sake of the money , rather than what he says…… ‘ is the pursuit of a fifth NBA ring , having won four as well as multiple Finals’ MVP’s . O’Neal is no longer the once dominant center within the league and if anything his productivity has slumped over the past few years . Rivers may well feel that his playing a mere twenty to twenty five minutes a game will suffice in the Celtics’ quest for another title.

Last season’s quest where we saw the Celtics fall to the Lost Angeles Lakers </a. in the NBA Finals was one where the team having outplayed the Lakers throughout much of the series they’d would fall apart in game seven where we’d see Ron Artest perhaps play the game of his life and where eventual Finals’ MVP Kobe Bryant would show us why he’s amongst the game’s most accomplished players and has long been considered one of the best players in the game when it matters most , on the NBA’s grandest stage. If that wasn’t enough to show the Celtics and their fans why it is that they can’t afford to be complacent then the 2010 Finals was definitely indicative of that.

This season for the Celtics hasn’t been without controversy for the team with Kevin Garnett leading the way with his flare up with the Pistons’ Charlie Villaneuva in the aftermath of which Garnett would try to negate the response of the press with a rather trite statement concerning remarks made about cancer victims. Garnett has always been something of a lightning rod in terms of his on the court demeanor and often at times his apparent willingness to do whatever it takes to win even if there’s a question as to his sportsmanship.

As an offense the Celtics have struggled and though they’re often viewed as a defensive force it has been here where their struggles have actually manifested itself and much to the dismay of their fans and Rivers’ coaching staff . I’ve no doubt will make the playoffs but I’m not so sure that as of now that they can be viewed as the presumptive favorites to win the conference finals ! As good as the team has been throughout much of the season the loss of Kendrick Perkins may well be too much to bear for this team. You cannot simply alter the chemistry on a team thinking that you can make it better by bringing in players that in terms of their contributions simply have shown that they’ve no real heart. Ainge for his part has been reticent to address the reasons as to the team’s falloff prior to the trade and what it has meant overall.

If the Celtics are to actually make their presence felt over the remainder the regular season and in the postseason , then as of now , they will have to show a great deal more determination . And in terms of leadership then Garnett , Pierce , Allen but Rajon Rondo in particular will have to lead by example if there’s to be any chance of this team simply being in with a remote chance of winning the NBA title . Failure by the quartet to show some form of consistency in terms of their play then you might as well count this team out because they’ve become a mere shadow of what many believed they were capable of achieving .

The Eastern Conference has often been thought of as a conference where the quality of play has been somewhat lacking in quality of its play but if anything with a litany stars now within the conference there’s the feeling that they’re now capable of staying in touch with their counterparts in the Western Conference . Now it comes to the point where we’re going to have to ask the questions as to whether or not the hype created with the Miami Heat ….. will they be good enough to win it all ? Can Derrick Rose assume the mantel of Michael Jordan and lead the Chicago Bulls to unprecedented heights not seen since the Bulls were in their heyday under Jordan in winning six titles during a ten year span. Boston for its part will be looking to add to the legacy of Red Auerbach and Bill Russell the two names synonymous , most associated with success and what the Celtics have been about over the course of their history.

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What thoughts if any do you have concerning the Celtics’ present plight and where do you see them in terms of their chances winning an NBA title ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the Boston Celtics and that of the conference and the NBA postseason as a whole ?

Alan aka tophatal ……………………

http://tophatal.wordpress.com/

Picture and slide show details below.
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(1) Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce (34) shoots against Minnesota Timberwolves center Darko Milicic (31) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, March 27, 2011, in Minneapolis. Pierce had a team-high 23 points as the Celtics won 85-82 . AP Photo/ Mark Goodson …..

(2) Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jonny Flynn (10) looks to pass around Boston Celtics guard Carlos Arroyo (45) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, March 27, 2011, in Minneapolis. AP Photo/Paul Battaglia ……….

(3) Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett (5) goes for the loose ball along with teammate Paul Pierce (34) and Minnesota Timberwolves center Anthony Tolliver during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, March 27, 2011, in Minneapolis. AP Photo/Paul Battaglia ….

(4) LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 19: Shaquille O’Neal of the Boston Celtics with girlfriend Nicole ‘Hoopz’ Alexander sit courtside as they attend NBA All-Star Saturday night presented by State Farm at Staples Center on February 19, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images …….

(5) Wyc Grousbeck (right) is seen here with Red Auerbach at the team’s headquarters discussing the Celtics’ team . Auerbach who died last season built the Celtics’ dynasty into one of the NBA’s most beloved and successful franchises . Grousbeck is now the senior managing partner in the Boston Celtics’ ownership group . Paul Myers / Celtic Archives / copyrighted material @ all rights reserved …..

(6) Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge (L), managing partner and CEO Wyc Grousbeck (C) and guard Ray Allen celebrate after defeating the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of the NBA Finals basketball championship in Boston June 17, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Segar ……………..

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Basketball, Boston Celtics, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, Portland Trailblazers

Stripper Poles Or NBA Polls ………… Which Gets Your Direction And Immediate Attention ?


Stripper Poles Or NBA Polls ………… Which Gets Your Direction And Immediate Attention ?

I’ve never been one to really put much store in polls unless it’s pole that’s actually being adorned by an exotic dancer . Needless to say that with the NBA __ season now in full swing and but a quarter of the way through already some fans out there are already putting up their polls as to who they believe are the best in the league given the teams’ records. That may well be all well and good but anything can be read into a poll given the amount of information stated at the time. To my mind we don’t really know much about the teams until we are at least a third of the way through the season. But realistically we can as such say that a number of teams are merely now there only to make up the numbers .

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Unfortunately teams such as the New Jersey Nets (6-17), Washingtion Wizards (6-16), Detroit Pistons (7-17), Los Angeles Clippers (5-18), Sacramento Kings (5-15) and the Minnesota Timberwolves (6-17) are having a torrid time this season within their respective divisions . Needless to say that their fans while being somewhat disheartened are no doubt hoping for better things down the line as the season progresses. That feeling no doubt holds true also for the other teams around the NBA and of their fans also.

Here within the state of Florida where the NBA essentially comes down to the hype surrounding the trio that makes up the Miami Heat and its remaining roster of accouterments merely there to provide some sort of support and applause for Chris Bosh , LeBron James and Dwyane Wade while team President Pat Riley basks in the glory . He’s either the most despised person within the NBA or one of the most respected given the views of some across the league . I’m sure that there are a number of fans in the city of Cleveland who’d place Riley right up there alongside LeBron James at this juncture as amongst the most hated ! The Heat having got off to an ignominious start to their season now seem to be rebounding into the form many had expect. James and Wade seem to be playing up to their expected standards while Bosh just seems to be going through the motions. I’ve seen cardboard cutouts with more life than this guy seems to portray on a basketball court. But then again this was the best that Riley felt possible given the talent allegedly on the market at the time of the acquisition. You don’t say ?

The other team within the state happens to be the Orlando Magic coached by the always animated Stan Van Gundy . Now the expectations have been high for this team over the past few years and they’ve repeatedly come up short for one reason or another . To my mind it comes down to the lack of leadership shown and the very fact that this roster beyond Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson is like milque- toast , not quite tough enough to get the job done but the effort put forth at times gives you the impression that on a given night they can be world beaters but on other nights they can look extremely bad. And while I’ve no doubt that Van Gundy will find a way to will get the Magic into the playoffs I for one don’t feel that they possess the aptitude or mentality to deal with the team I believe are the favorites in the Eastern Conference the Boston Celtics. Doc Rivers perhaps the most understated coach in the NBA has a roster of veterans as well as young players that have gelled together and seem to be getting the job done and not only that but that bench of theirs might just be about the best and deepest in the league . The same I don’t believe can be said for the Magic or perhaps the perceived favorites , the Miami Heat within the Eastern Conference.

In the Western Conference while some seem to be impressed with the run of the Dallas Mavericks and their play. I’m wondering how the hell a number of people are overlooking the San Antonio Spurs ? OK so no it’s to be expected that the Spurs given their pedigree will be in there at the end and in Gregg Popovich they have the best coach in the league outside of Phil Jackson of the Los Angeles Lakers . However when it’s all said and done whatever the Mavericks are presently doing you can’t get over the fact that come the postseason this is a team that simply melts like butter off a hot knife . And I for one don’t believe that will change at all this season should they make the playoffs. Rick Carlisle I’ve no doubt is a good coach but he’s not a hard-nose coach who’ll get at his players when they’re failing to get the job done. I simply look at his resume’ as a coach in Indiana with the Pacers and it tells me all I need to know ! Now even with the Mavericks not much to my mind has really changed …… they simply are a team that essentially boils down to one thing go out and put up the numbers on the offensive end and then as they do so often struggle on the defensive side of things. And while they have had their plaudits it goes without saying that as their season progresses we will actually get to indeed see what this team is really made of.

The reigning champions the Los Angeles Lakers seem to have their own problems at present having lost four straight games for the first time under Jackson’s reign as a coach with the team. Hard to believe that such a thing has happened now for only the first time under this esteemed coach and the Lakers. And while there are some naive enough to think that this may well show some cracks in the vulnerability of the Los Angeles Lakers . You would be foolhardy to think that Jackson won’t find a way to fix things. Point being Phil Jackson knows how to win and one seriously doubts that Kobe Bryant won’t actually get at his teammates and tell them to pull their fingers out their own ass and get the job done . He’s as determined as anyone to prove those out there that he and not James is the rightful successor to assume the mantel as the face of the NBA since Michael Jordan’s departure. I think that 5 NBA titles, league MVP award and 2 time NBA Finals’ MVP awards gives him sort of credibility don’t you ? The team merely has to stop being complacent and simply play to its strengths rather than down to the level of their opponents . If they can do that then there’s no reason to believe why they cannot play themselves back into contention and make a return to the NBA Finals .

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From my own perspective this season and in particular within the Western Conference we could very well see a number of surprises within the divisions . I’ve no doubt that the likes of the Portland Trailblazers and Oklahoma City Thunder can stake a claim that they ought to be feared and be a major part of the postseason if they play up to their potential. For me , the most exciting duo in the league at present is the tandem of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant . There’s something to suggest that given the right set of circumstances these two players could lift this team to unexpected heights this season . But for their inexperience in the playoffs last season they could have pulled off a major upset in their first round loss to the eventual champions the Los Angeles Lakers (4-2 ). Coach Scott Brooks and his coaching staff had to have been encouraged by what they had seen and have no doubt put those lessons learned to good use this season as his team looks to improve on last season’s showing. I for one would like to think that somehow a team like the Thunder can be the future of the NBA . They seem to be going about things in the right way and have the fervent support of their fans and the city of Oklahoma behind them.

As I’ve stated in terms of polls unless the information there is succinct and subject itself is something that is substantive I tend not to put much store by it. Polls can be made to sway or detract from an objective. Strippers adorning a pole on the other hand …… well is there a reason not to look and enjoy ? As to the NBA season so far and how it has progressed what thoughts if any do you have on what you’ve witnessed so far ? Chime on in with a comment .

😛

Alan aka tophatal …………………… 🙂

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Eye candy ………. Sasha Del Velle Kicks anyone ?

Basketball, Boston Celtics, NBA, NBA Playoffs 2010, Orlando Magic, Sports

I Want To Go To Disneyland Bitch !


I Want To Go To Disneyland Bitch !

What can you say about the Orlando Magic that hasn’t been said ? A wolf in sheep’s clothing by any other name wouldn’t do this team justice. They’ve been poor in every aspect of the game in this series against the Boston Celtics that it has me wondering if this team has any pride much less a backbone ? They are gutless , spineless and all the excuses that can be made cannot hide the fact that this team has absolutely no character ! Now down 0-3 in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals they’ve shown about as much urgency in the series as an elephant or hippopotamus taking a mud bath on a hot day in order to avoid the heat and humidity !

And for the Magic fans out there looking to make an excuse for their poor display please forget it as it’s simply not worth it ! If Dwight Howard is “the best center in the game” then clearly there’s something wrong with the player ! Because from where I sit the Lakers’ Pau Gasol makes Howard seem like a geriatric wearing “Depends” , going through the early onset stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Howard much like his teammates have shown about as much resolve as a whimpering child. The Magic rather than being a cohesive unit have essentially become team that’s simply outmatched by a Celtics’ team that simply outplays this Stan Van Gundy coached team and wants and relishes the zeal of making an appearance in the NBA Finals . After all that is meant to be the ultimate goal is it not ?

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Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

Celtics cruise past Magic; open 3-0 lead in series

By Jimmy Golen , AP Sports Writer

Boston , Mass ,. (AP) – There were still 20 seconds left in the game when Paul Pierce(notes) decided he didn’t need to see any more and headed to the locker room.

In the hallway, he repeated aloud: “One more. One more.”

Pierce helped the Celtics open a 16-point, first-quarter lead, then watched as Rajon Rondo(notes) and Glen “Big Baby” Davis helped Boston coast to a 94-71 victory over the Orlando Magic and take a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals.

The most-decorated team in NBA history, the Celtics are one win away from their second trip to the finals in three years—and their 21st in all. No NBA team has ever lost a playoff series after winning the first three games.

“We’re motivated for what’s at stake. We see the big picture,” said Pierce, who was the finals MVP when Boston won its record 17th NBA title in 2008. “We were coming home for two games on our home court. We’re motivated. We can feel it. Guys know what its like to win a championship and play for a championship.”

The Magic have to win Game 4 on Monday night to avoid a sweep and force the series back to Orlando. They’ll need a better effort than in Game 3, when they fell behind early for the third straight game. This time, they didn’t even mount a late charge to make it close.

“The most disappointing to me was that I didn’t have our team better ready to play,” said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, who was himself knocked over late in the game when Kevin Garnett was pushed into the Orlando bench going after a loose ball. “It starts with me. It’s my job. I’m the coach of this team. It starts with me and I’m not happy with where we had our team tonight or anything I did.”

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Watching this Orlando Magic team surgically and being clinically dismantled by the Celtics’ Rajon Rondo was simply like watching a “maestro” conduct an orchestra . The Magic had no answer for Rondo or anyone else from Doc Rivers’ coached team. And for a team that many viewed as the overwhelming favorites coming into this Eastern Conference Finals match up. The Boston Celtics has essentially made sure that the Magic’s postseason ambition is quietly coming to an end. Anyone under the mistaken impression that this Magic team can now erase a 3-0 deficit had better come off their medication. This team simply isn’t good enough to overcome the deficit much less possibly win a game in this series ! And even if they were to win a game there’s still not a hope in hell that they’ll be even able to play their way back into the series. Absolutely no one on this team has the identity or character to play their way back into the series. All we’re going to hear from the players are the usual perfunctory of excuses possible. Even Van Gundy is liable to jump on that bitch and make the excuse as to why his team has under achieved .

No one wants to held accountable for their actions and it has become clear that this team simply isn’t good enough to win an NBA title. The biggest mistake was to even believe that the Orlando Magic in part was actually a team of character. Because if that were this case then the team would be playing with more passion and their effort would be great deal more than what we’ve seen thus far. Prior to game two we had the Magic‘s power forward Rashard Lewis making the statement …… “I‘ve got to find out what it is that I need to do to contribute more to make the team better“ . Well if .Lewis hasn’t realized that and no one from Van Gundy’s coaching staff has told him what in essence needs to be done. Then why the hell is he playing this game ? Only an idiot at this juncture would be of the opinion that there’s any semblance of the Orlando Magic playing like a team. They’ve simply not shown it throughout this series. And though credit has to be given to the Boston Celtics. It does take two contestants to make a game something of a competitive contest . What we’ve seen has been only one team willing to come to a contest and play while the other is simply somewhere else playing without heart and seemingly showing little interest in winning.

Game four of the Eastern Conference Finals resumes on Monday night and we’re liable to see the Boston Celtics close out the series and make their second appearance in the NBA Finals in the last three years. As to who their likely opponents will be for the time being , we’ll have to take it at face value that it will be the Los Angeles Lakers . That would clearly be an eagerly anticipated match up that would the envy of NBA fans everywhere and no doubt the NBA hierarchy of Commissioner David Stern .

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Picture gallery .

As to the Magic fans out there what excuse are you now going to come up with should the Orlando Magic be blown out of this series without a win ? As the title would suggest …… “I want to go to Disneyland bitch “ ! No chance of that apparently happening now , as the Magic made it known that although that venerable entertainment complex is within easy reach of them as a destination , they simply have no desire to visit . Much like they have now have no desire to win an NBA title at this juncture. If that were the case then we’d seen this team show us exactly what they’re made of. Instead we’ve seen a team that was vastly over-rated and over hyped. But then again what’s new ? Isn’t that we tend to get when you have an alleged team of highly overpaid primadona athletes ?

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………………….

TLC ……………………………”Scrubs”

Basketball, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA, NBA Playoffs 2010, Sports

All That Glitters Isn’t Necessarily Gold ………… Why The WNBA Might Be Now More Pertinent In The City Of Cleveland ……..


All That Glitters Isn’t Necessarily Gold ………… Why The WNBA Might Be Now More Pertinent In The City Of Cleveland ……..

Well the tires on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ bus not only did they go flat but for all sense and purpose the “RV” simply wasn’t up to the task ! The long haul of the regular season might be one thing but as everyone knows , come the postseason that’s where the excitement is to be had ! Having posted an impressive 61-21 regular season record the team was viewed as the “presumptive favorites” to win it all and thereby gaining their very first NBA title .

Now there’s a great deal to be said for what a team achieves in the regular season and what they then aspire to achieve in the postseason . And usually the achievements of the regular season can at times give you a clue as what to expect. But at times it can also be very misleading . See the Dallas Mavericks postseason foray as a prime example of what one can expect of a team that was vastly over-rated by pundits and idiotic prognosticators alike , who ought to have known better ! The Mavericks had no body of work which to point to and most were simply enthralled by the dog-n-pony show and paper tiger element that they brought to the 2010 NBA postseason.

A somber looking LeBron James takes questions from the convened press after the Cavaliers' loss in game six of the Eastern Conference semi-finals to the Boston Celtics. The Celtics now go on to meet the Orlando Magic in the conference finals. AP Photo __ Charles Krupa ................

A somber looking LeBron James takes questions from the convened press after the Cavaliers' loss in game six of the Eastern Conference semi-finals to the Boston Celtics. The Celtics now go on to meet the Orlando Magic in the conference finals. AP Photo __ Charles Krupa ................

The Cavaliers for their part were expected to march through the Eastern Conference playoffs with ease. Having a two time regular season MVP award winner doesn’t make a team invincible and even if LeBron James has been anointed “The King” or as he’d become more commonly known “King James” . Until you’ve actually landed the brass ring or the leprechaun’s pot of gold. Any comparisons being made to a monarch aren’t at all justified. What’s even more derisory were the comparisons being made about the player to the likes of Michael Jordan , Magic Johnson , Larry Bird , “Dr J” and Kareem ? Each of whom were not only regular season MVP’s but had also garnered the postseason award as well in the NBA Finals. Now don’t get me wrong , LeBron James is a tremendous player and some day he may well go down as one of the all-time greats of the game. But he’s yet to achieve a body of work that can be comparable to the names mentioned !

Ray Allen of the Celtics consoles LeBron James after they defeat the Cavaliers 94-85 in game six of the conference semi finals of the NBA Playoffs. The Celtics now go on to meet the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals. Getty Images/ Elsa Martinez .................

Ray Allen of the Celtics consoles LeBron James after they defeat the Cavaliers 94-85 in game six of the conference semi finals of the NBA Playoffs. The Celtics now go on to meet the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals. Getty Images/ Elsa Martinez .................

What we can attest to is the fact that while on paper the Cavaliers looked good as a team , once the playoffs got underway they had their problems from the very start. And although they had their way with the Chicago Bulls in the first round , winning that series (4-1) with relative ease. You came away with the impression that if they weren’t being tested then they would at some point become very sloppy and complacent against a future opponent. And in their series against the Boston Celtics all the chickens would come home to roost as the Cavaliers and James were found wanting throughout much of this series . Cleveland Cavaliers’ coach Mike Brown and his coaching staff may well have had this team prepared but did he actually have them prepared to play a Celtics’ team that had been given a new lease of life ? And though the series did ebb and flow as each team sought to make its presence felt and stamp their dominance on the series. One simply knew something had to happen that would flip the script as far as the perception of how the series was meant to turn out.

To my mind the difference maker in this series wasn’t LeBron James , it was in fact the determined by the play of Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics. As he went , so did this team and what might’ve been more inspiring was the very fact that the seasoned veterans on Doc Rivers’ team fed off the young point guard’s example. To see the likes of Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce , Ray Allen and Rasheed Wallace simply play as though they’d freshly arrived in the NBA was very inspiring.

Unfortunately,for LeBron while he may well have had a woefully inept performance in game five . His surrounding cast weren’t even marginally better than their more celebrated play-maker. That 32 point loss __ (120-88) simply sealed the fate of not only LeBron but for the entire Cavaliers’ organization . Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert and GM Danny Ferry will now have to assess the whole organization from not only player personnel aspect but also on the coaching front as well. Mike Brown may well have done all that he can as a coach for this team. Perhaps a fresh set of eyes might bring a new perspective as to what ails the Cleveland Cavaliers ? And given the fact that LeBron James now becomes a free agent on the 1st June the urgency of the situation isn’t lost on anyone within the front office of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Retaining the player must be their number one priority but so too will be the need to bring in another dynamic talent to complement the needs of this team as well as taking the burden of LeBron. He may well relish being the go to guy on the team but little went right for LeBron when it was needed most in this series against the Celtics.

Game six saw the Celtics on their home-court at a soldout TD Banknorth Garden Center in Boston ____ in essence put an end to the Cavaliers’ postseason aspirations. The Boston Celtics came away with an 94-85 victory that puts them in the Eastern Conference Finals where they will meet the Orlando Magic . And that will be a series that ought to be thoroughly entertaining and one to be relished. So close but yet so far but with a cast that had no real passion or desire to get the job done . You get the feeling that with the Cavaliers that all that glitters isn’t necessarily gold. Merely because of the presence LeBron James , complacency became the norm for this team. Winning is also about having a positive mental attitude. James may well have it but it was all too rare in this series when it mattered most.His teammates for their part showed very little of it. But it certainly didn’t help that this team simply couldn’t keep possession of the ball by needlessly turning it over at the most inopportune of moments.

James looks to make a pass while being defended by the Celtics' Rasheed Wallace in game 6 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals played at the TD Banknorth Garden Center, Boston , Mass,. Getty Imaged __ Elsa Martinez .............

James looks to make a pass while being defended by the Celtics' Rasheed Wallace in game 6 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals played at the TD Banknorth Garden Center, Boston , Mass,. Getty Imaged __ Elsa Martinez .............

There’s no real need to empathize with the Cavaliers at all. They came to play but their mind laid elsewhere as they didn’t come into this series with the mindset of dealing with the immediate task at hand. Theirs was a season that has ended with a whimper instead of an almighty bang. This may well be the last chance that the Cavaliers get to an NBA Finals should the unthinkable happen of LeBron James choosing to leave the franchise. But then again the city of Cleveland still yearns for the NBA . So why not bring in WNBA franchise within the fans’ midst ? It could very well be as close as they’ll ever get to be engaged as a participant in an NBA Final at this juncture . An off-season of indecision and decision making as the case maybe for the organization . But one thing is now sure the crown of King James isn’t as secure as some might have thought. LeBron James simply has proven to us that he’s human and by no stretch of the imagination is he anywhere near ready to be talked about in the same breath as MJ , Magic , Bird , Dr J , Kareem or even Kobe Bryant for that matter ! They’ve set about leading their respective teams to the pinnacle of NBA success. All that LeBron has done is try and make us believe that he’s ready to do that when clearly he is not ! He’s still got a long way to go before he can even match the achievements of the venerable names mentioned . Will he ultimately match those feats or even surpass them ? Who knows only time will tell . But for the moment let’s not continue to heap too much praise and expectation upon the shoulders of a young man who’s still learning what it means to play in the NBA and at the same time learning how to be a leader to others.

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So now what are your own thoughts as to the Cleveland Cavaliers fall from grace ? Do you embrace as something that was needed ? Or do you as such empathize with the team and their fans ? As and when you’re ready I’ll look forward to reading your comments and responding in kind.

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………………..

Bob Seger ………….. “Shake Down” one of the several hit songs from the Eddie Murphy hit movie vehicle from the 80’s “Beverley Hills Cop 2” . And though some might say “BHC 1 & 2 were all that should’ve been made. As thereafter #’s 3 &4 were simply disastrous and “bombed at the box office”. But this is the way that Hollywood works as they’re forever chasing the cash cow rather than making movies of substance and that can stand the test of time.

Baseball, Basketball, Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Cavaliers, MLB, NBA, NBA Playoffs 2010, New York Yankees, Sports

Tha Crossroads ………. See Ya’ At The Crossroads …….. So You Won’t Be Lonely ……


Tha Crossroads ………. See Ya’ At The Crossroads …….. So You Won’t Be Lonely ……

Well the “epicenter” of the sporting universe will very much this weekend be in the city of Boston . The NBA will have the continuation of the playoff series between the Boston Celtics against the Cleveland Cavaliers . And in MLB (baseball) we have the renewed and very much heated rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees of the AL East .

And for the venues in which both of these spectacles will be showcased for the attending fans and those watching on television. Expect the excitement and action to be riveting in its form and presence. Fenway Park , Boston will take center stage for what is perhaps baseball’s richest and most storied rivalry. The New York Yankees will be looking to keep astride with the division leading Tampa Bay Rays . And it’d be safe to say that the Rays are not only the “surprise team” of the division but they might just be the best team in baseball at present based on their current form. If only their “home fans” were appreciative of that fact in turning out at Tropicana Field , St Pertersburg in droves to show their unconditional support for the team . But alas, they are very much a fickle set of fans , to say the very least !

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The TD Banknorth Garden Center in Boston will play host to the Cavaliers led by their newly minted regular season MVP _____ LeBron James . And this particular series and game will be “pivotal” for both teams. Tied 1-1 James and his Cavaliers’ teammates will be looking to retake the advantage by winning the first game at the Celtics’ home venue. Not to be outdone however, Doc Rivers knows that if his team are to have a chance against this Mike Brown coached team and keeping the momentum after their ” lopsided” game two victory 104-86 over the Cavaliers. Then the Boston Celtics will have give their fans a repeat performance of their display at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland , Ohio.

And as surprising at that 18 point margin of victory was , what even be more shocking was the laissez-faire approach taken by Cavaliers in general. Mike Brown’s post-game interview was none apologetic and if anything both he and his coaching staff ought to be held accountable for such a poor display. And the fact that he was unwilling to call out his star player as well as the supporting cast makes you wonder who is in fact ruling the roost there in Cleveland ? Is it “King James” or is it the coach ?

Can we all agree the disdain and contempt that the Red Sox fans have for the New York Yankees’ fans as well as the the team borders on that spirited feud between the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s ? If there’s a more heated rivalry both on and off the field in all of sports. Then I for one have yet to witness here in the United States ! Now don’t get me wrong there may well be one or two other rivalries that would like to lay claim that theirs is comparable to that of the Red Sox and Yankees’ rivalry. But you’d be hard pressed to convince the majority of baseball fans that is indeed the case. What one fans purports to be a rivalry one hand pales into insignificance when measured against of what we’ve all no doubt witnessed between these two teams over the course this rivalry’s existence. I know it’s not allout war but the Palestinians and Israelis could learn a thing a two from this long existing feud. Yankees’ fans can be obnoxious because their self conceived superiority complex. Red Sox fans on the other hand, now feel that after years in the wilderness and now with renewed success. Well in essence , they feel that their time is now to hell with what the Yankees’ fans might think or who the hell they are. As for their contempt of the team , well let’s just if they had a pot urine or fecal matter it would not surprise if they chose to launch it in the direction of an opposing fan or player of a fan ! Do you get where I’m coming from concerning this matter ?

Well what can the fans and viewing public expect to see throughout the series ? A Yankees’ team that’s playing well and in many ways some might say pacing themselves for the long haul drudgery of the season . The Red Sox for their part seem to be back to their winning ways . But this is a team that’s lacking in confidence and the players brought in via trades or free agency have yet to show their worth. As astute as GM Theo Epstein is deemed to be , even he must be somewhat disappointed in the form of Adrian Beltre , Marco Scutaro , Mike Cameron and in particular the team’s DH , David Ortiz . Granted, Mike Cameron is on the 15 day DL . Oh what a surprise that is ? Were he a race horse the veterinarian might well have considered euthanizing the often injured player. If there’s said to be a real disappointment however , then it has to be the inconsistency of the front-line starters in terms of the pitching rotation . Josh Beckett’s ERA of 6.31 is either an aberration or there’s a real cause for concern. I’ll let you be the judge of that if you happen to be a Red Sox fan. On the other hand, if you’re a Yankees’ fan then you’re probably rolling about the floor laughing your a_s off .

How manager Terry Francona and the team goes about contesting this series may well go a long way in telling us about the Boston Red Sox and their real aspirations for the season . His opposing number Joe Girardi knows that with the bulls eye resting squarely on their backs as World Series champions . Everyone within baseball will be looking to take them down and usurp their dominance. With a plethora of high priced stars on the team’s roster . This is a Yankees’ organization that takes “their dominance of the sport” rather seriously. Winning equates with success , which equates with making money. And no professional sports franchise makes money the way that the New York Yankees is able to do. Be it from a business or competitive standpoint their success is unparalleled and unmatched .

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Well all that is left to say at this juncture , is merely to enjoy the sporting weekend and the revelry of the spectacles as they unfold. Be it in support of the Red Sox , Yankees or Cavaliers or Celtics . Just have fun and hopefully you’ll enjoy the cavalcade of sports entertainment at your disposal. For myself , it may well not so much be about these two series in question. But if anything I’ll be watching to see how the San Antonio Spurs acquit themselves in their playoff series against the Phoenix Suns . They have to erase a 0-2 deficit and still play themselves back into contention. An impossible task ? Not necessarily but given the consistency of their play against the Suns . I’m hoping that they can defend their home-court successfully in order to put my mind at ease. Thereafter, it’s then everything to play for .

Alan Parkins ………………….tophatal ………


Bone Thugs-n-Harmony ……………….. “Tha Crossroads”

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The always sultry Kerry Washington .

Basketball, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Eastern Confernce, Kevin Garnett, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, Orlando Magic, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Sports

Someone Knocked One Of The Wheels Off My Bus …………..


So  at this particular  time  the argument is being made as to the  supremacy of the  Boston Celtics within the  NBA. Having raced  out  of the starting  gate  posting  an impressive record over the first  29 games (27-2). They’ve  now  fallen to earth with a thud  or  so  some  would  have  us  believe  with  an almighty bang. Now with a record of  29-8 there’s  a rumbling  and everyone  is questioning  the  team’s  resolve.

 

 

The Celtics' Paul Pierce  points to the sidelines having  been fouled by the Rockets' Ron Artest ..........
The Celtics' Paul Pierce points to the sidelines having been fouled by the Rockets' Ron Artest .............

 

 

Paul Pierce(34) points to the sidelines  after he’s fouled by the Houston Rockets'(96) Ron Artest.  The Rockets however  would go on to win the  game 89-85. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Tom  McLendon…………….

 

 

 

 

Well the NBA season isn’t about  a sprint  as it’s really  a  marathon  of  sorts  played  out over a  schedule  of 82 arduous games. They  sap  the  physicality’s and  mentality  of  a  player  and  no doubt  a whole  lot  more. That being  said the  teams that  survive that  then  have the  postseason to look  forward  to.   And  that  in of itself  is filled  with  pitfalls that’ll  test the  coaching staff and  players alike. 

 

 

Garnett  tries  to  defend the  shot of the Rockets Aaron  Brooks .......
Garnett of the Celtics tries to defend the shot by the Rockets' Aaron Brooks .............

 

Kevin Garnett tries to defend a shot by  the Rockets’ Aaron Brooks during  the  game  played at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Massachussetts. picture appears courtesy of  nbae/getty images/ Brian Babineau …………..

 

 

 

In  the  Eastern Conference  at  present  we’ve seen  three  teams rise  to the top playing  as consistently as one  would deem  it possible.  And as we can all define consistency in  its  many  forms. It begs  the  question is what’s  now happening with the Celtics  really  all that  disturbing ? The  Boston Celtics along  with the  LeBron James’ led Cleveland Cavaliers and  the  Orlando  Magic  have the  best records  in the conference. Each of the teams in question have their  own  array of  stars. But it  can be said that  without their  trio All Stars last season’s triumph  by  the  Celtics  would’ve been  viewed  as nothing  more than afterthought  had it  been  another franchise  defeating the  Los Angeles  Lakers.

 

Yao Ming of the  Rockets  and  the  Celtics'  Glen  Davis pursue a loose ball......... .
Yao Ming of the Rockets and the Celtics' Glen Davis pursue a loose ball ...............

 

Glen Davis chases after a loose ball that’s  also  being pursued by  the Rockets’ Yao Ming. picture appears courtesy  of nbae/getty images/ Brian Babineau …. 

 

 

 

In Kevin Garnett , Ray  Allen  and Paul Pierce  the  team may  well  possess three  future  Hall of  Famers. But that’s a discussion  for another day. I  know  that there are  some  Celtics’ fans  who’ll be of the  opinion  that they   ought to be enshrined  immediately  upon their retirement  merely  because they  brought  a title  to  Boston  after some 25 years  in what was  thought to be the  perpetual  wilderness.  Well now  they’re back and  are  looking to  improve  upon last year’s  triumph. And if  anything  as we all  know it’s  harder to  defend a title the  second   time around  than  it  is  to  win it  the first time. That being said  it’s to be  expected that the team  would  stumble  somewhat this  season.  They’re  no longer viewed  as a  team  whose sum  is greater than  that  of its  parts.  And  if  anything  their foes within the  conference  as well  across the  rest of  the  NBA  have  finally  figured out how  to  pressurize and beat  this  team.

 

 

Yao Ming defends the paint as the Celtics' Paul Pierce drives to the basket  ...............
Yao Ming of the Rockets defends the paint as the Celtics' Paul Pierce drives to the basket ..................

 

Yao Ming of the  Boston Celtics defends the paint as the Celtics’ Paul Pierce drives for the  basket.  picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Brian Babineau …………

 

 

 

 

At the start of the season the  play of their point guard  Rajon  Rondo was  at its  highest. But the player  himself  seems  to be in a  bit  of a lull. The sophomore point guard  appears to have hit  the  proverbial wall.  And if  the rumors are  to  be  believed then  help is  on  the  way  in the  guise of  the  New York  Knickswayward child  Stephon Marbury. Suffice  to say  that  at  this  juncture  I’d somewhat  begin  to  question the  thinking  of  GM Danny Ainge  should he  follow  through with this  deal. Marbury’s  intentions as  a player  and teammate at times  has come into question.  But with  him  being  placed  within an environment  that  has the  likes  of Garnett, Allen and  Pierce  who in unison as  veterans  have made the  team better. I can  only honestly  believe  that  any  temper  tantrum  thrown  by  him  wouldn’t be  taken  on with any respect by the  trio.  Marbury, has always  been  about  him  and  him  only.  And his  desire as he says  to be part of  a team  and  play for a contender while  admirable. In  my  mind  I  find it somewhat  condescending.  Considering  his travels around the  league there has  to  be a reason why  the  player  has yet  to  find  a  place that  he can  really  call home.

 

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